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Sol lands women's soccer's biggest star
by Paul Kennedy, January 13th, 2009 7AM



[WPS] The The Los Angeles Sol signed the one player Women's Professional Soccer needed to achieve international credibility when it  reached an agreement with three-time FIFA World Female Player of the Year Marta. The Brazilian had played for Swedish powerhouse Umea since 2004, and her signing is a signal that WPS has the clout to compete with Europe's major women's leagues that have grown in prominence since the days of the WUSA.

According to the web site Women's Soccer USA, Marta signed a five-year contract that guarantees her $225,000 from Sol owner AEG. Other terms of the agreement include $225,000 from league sponsor Puma and 10% of gross Marta merchandise sales, as well as other perks and bonuses. According to league policy, it would not disclose the terms of the agreement.
"With the signing of Marta there is no doubt that we have brought in one of the biggest and most exciting pieces of the puzzle we targeted when we launched this franchise last fall," said Scott Hanley, Vice President of AEG Sports.  "She is a bona-fide superstar in the sport of soccer who will undoubtedly electrify fans and raise awareness for both our team and WPS on a global scale."

The Sol originally acquired the exclusive WPS negotiating rights to Marta with the third pick in the WPS's Initial International Draft. She is the second Umea player to sign with the Sol. It selected Swedish defender Johanna Frisk as a post-draft selection. For the 2009 season, WPS teams are allowed to sign up to five international players each.

Marta, only 22, is easily the biggest name in international women's soccer. U.S. women's national team players are negotiating as a group and have yet to reach an agreement with WPS. There is no indication, however, that an accord will not be reached.
"I want to go on playing as well as I was playing in Sweden," she said. "Of course, I am sad I am leaving, but I am happy because a new project is beginning. It is time to start something new.

"I am concentrating on getting there and doing what I know best: bringing the game forward and making it more competitive because the U.S. is very strong soccer -wise.''

On Monday, Marta won the FIFA Women's Player of the Year award for the third straight year.



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